Web-Based Support for Literacy
Reading Rockets is a national multimedia project that looks at how young students learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help them. Their extensive website is updated daily and includes a national outreach campaign that works in partnership with some of the country’s foremost education associations, a teleconference series for teacher professional development, and much more.
Matching Books to Students
The Lexile Framework for Reading is an educational tool that links text and readers under a common matrix without subjective evaluation. The Lexile Framework is objective in that it transcends the group measure – that is, readers are measured against an invariant standard text and not against each other. It characterizes each reader and each text with a measure (or Lexile), allowing educators to forecast the level of comprehension a student will experience with a particular text. Teachers can evaluate their curriculum based on students’ ability to comprehend the material.
The California Reading List is also a lexile-based measurement. Students receive a lexile number matched to their performance on the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT 9) results, then teachers and parents can access a reading list for that level. The list includes selections from California’s Recommended Literature for K-12 Students.
Book Adventure is a free reading motivation program for children in grades K-8. Students create their own book lists from over 5,400 recommended titles, take multiple choice quizzes on the books they’ve read, and earn points and prizes for their literary successes. Book Adventure was created by the Sylvan Learning Foundation.
Supporting Students with Reading Difficulties
LD Online provides excellent ideas, articles, tips, and practical information to support teachers, parents, and others who are supporting students that find literacy difficult. The site’s many links provide access to top-quality literacy resources.
Technology and Young Readers
Technology offers a very practical solution to the challenge of differentiation – e.g., how can I provide individual students more targeted practice in areas of need? It has been validated to provide valuable assistance in developing phonemic awareness and related critical early reading skills. For example, the Intellitools Balanced Literacy program produced excellent results in a recent NICHD-funded study. Read Naturally offers reading fluency support for grades 1-7 using repeated readings of age-appropriate expository text. Beginning reading programs such as Read Write & Type, Earobics, and LeapFrog provide useful support to young readers. One of the most exciting new technologies involves voice recognition, where the computer becomes a tutor that can provide feedback based on what the student just read. See the excellent program by researcher Marilyn Adams and colleagues at Scientific Learning.
Computer-Based Study Strategies
The Center for Advanced Technology in Education (CATE) at the University of Oregon investigates, promotes, and shares information about the use of technology in education. Computer-Based Study Strategies (CBSS), one of their many projects, has led to some very powerful ways of using the computer to complete everyday school tasks such as reading, writing, taking notes, studying for tests, and learning by representing concepts “visually.” is a set of computer-based tools and techniques for being successful in school. The CBSS developers believe that all students deserve access to modern technology and that all teachers must be well-versed in teaching students to use the computer as a “cognitive partner.”
Universal Access and Technology
The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) is a not-for-profit organization that uses technology to expand opportunities for all people, especially those with disabilities. Their website has many useful resources, including a complete book by noted author David Rose, Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age.
Technology and Older Readers
Scholastic’s Read 180 intervention program, designed and validated by special educator Ted Hasslebring, brings state-of-the-art technology to the challenge of older struggling readers.
Start to Finish Books provide well-written, controlled text – perfect for older struggling readers. The texts range from grades 2-3 to 4-5. Author and special educator Jerry Stemach, a Sonoma County resident, developed the series. Publisher Don Johnston Incorporated has a wide variety of other technology-based education tools available.